August - Reading 20

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Aaron

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    The reading today in Titus defines for us the subject matter to be taught to the various groups in the church. As a youth minister I took the prescriptions for the young men and women to heart. I think these verses rule out much of what is sold as youth ministry today. Click here.
    (Topic: If the Foundations Be Destroyed... July 07, 2002)

    I remember when I first read the Book of Esther. I was a youngster, and it gripped me. It read like an adventure novel. Funny that the book which most appealed to my apetite for thrills and intrigue doesn't mention God one time :eek:

    [My apologies to Aaron for breaking into his post, but if the topic he linked ever got moved to the archives, I would have no way of identifying it. [​IMG] ]

    [ August 20, 2003, 07:07 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

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    Good morning -

    Aaron pointed out a very important point about Esther. Though God is never metioned in Esther, this is a very deliberate mechanism employed by the author. The Book also does not mention worship, prayer, or sacrifice. What this does for this Book is emphasize the necessity of God's involvement for the great, though seemingly insignificant, coincidences for the plot to develop and for the Jews to br delivered. This literary device has called the canonization of this Book into question throughout history.
    We can assume, however, that the unknown author of Esther is Jewish. The knowledge of the conflicts between the Amalekites and the theme of the deliverance of the Jews as reflected throughout the entire Bible testifies to this. The central theme of the Book is to commemorate the festival of Purim. I'm not sure that any other Book talks as much about eating either!
    The setting of this story is Susa, a Persian city. This story likely occurs before Ezra returned to Jerusalem with the second wave of exiles, yet Jewish nationalism is a very emphasized theme.
    Esther is one of the two Books of the Bible that bear a woman's name. The other is, of course, Ruth.

    In Luke, the parable of the Ten Minas is very similar to the parable of the talents. The differences being that the amount given are equal to each servant and the value of a mina being less than a talent. The breakdown of this monetary system goes like this according to the NIV text notes:
    1 Talent = 60 minas
    1 Mina = 100 drachmas
    A drachma equaled about one day's wages so one can see that in both parables this is a very large amount of money being entrusted to these servants.

    Again, my thanks to Aaron for his commentary.

    May God bless you

    - Clint

    [ August 21, 2002, 12:12 PM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lecture - 1/18/04 conclusion

    Proverbs 15

    The final chapter in this week's readings ends with the important theological point that God sees all in verse 3. There is no such thing as a "secret sin." This characteristic of God should make us ever mindful of the instructions we receive from His revelation of Himself in the Scriptures.

    Verse 33 concludes with the reaffirmation that the fear of the Lord is the basis of wisdom. The awe we have of God chastises us when we act unwisely.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lecture - 5/23/04 - Part I

    Titus 2

    Chapter 1 concluded with Paul warning against the Judaizers that had infiltrated the church on Crete. Now in chapter 2 he presents the only true antidote against their trouble making - good behavior within the Christian community. Paul addresses five specific groups in this chapter: older men, younger men, older women, younger women and slaves. This encompasses the entire Christian household with the exception of the smaller children. In verse 1:11 Paul had cited their disruptions of families and now moves on to correct what damages may have been done or may have been occurring.

    Verse 1 distinguishes Titus from the Judaizers. "But as for you (KJV - but speak thou)" is emphatic. Titus' teachings do not resemble the "sick" doctrine of the errorists but rather is "sound" or "healthy" teaching and does not resemble in any way the fallacies spoken against in 1:10-16.

    Titus 2:1-2 Of Older Men

    Just as in 1Timothy 5:1, the used here for "older" distinguishes this sect from the office of "elder". Nonetheless, this part of the Christian Body has its duties and purpose just as surely as the clergy does. The virtues that Paul lists do resemble those we find for bishop/elder and deacon. This is really no surprise, as we know that there are not two standards for Christians.

    "Temperate" and "sober" refer not only to alcohol but to other desires as well. In 1Timothy 3:2 the same word is rendered "vigilant." "Serious (KJV - grave)" refers to a reverent attitude towards one's life. In Philippians 4:8 this word is translated as "honest." "Sensible (sound in faith)" just as in 1Timothy 3:2 refers to the discretionary use of God's gifts. Chapter 1 verse 13 spoke of the purpose of rebuking the errorists being that they would be "sound in faith." Paul further exhorts the older men to be sound or "healthy" in "love (KJV - charity)" and in "steadfastness (KJV - patience)." The implementation of these virtues would offset the disruption of the unhealthy teaching of the errorists.

    Titus 2:3-5 Of Older and Younger Women

    Commentators seem divided on the term "likewise" in verse 3. Pre-20th century commentaries seem to feel as a rule that the following virtues apply not only to female deacons but to all aged women. Modern commentaries tend to lean towards an interpretation that the "likewise" is referring to the virtues of the older men listed above. While the most natural reading favors the second interpretation, the list is very similar to that found in 1Timothy 3:11, which, as you may recall, may have been a list of qualifications for an "order" of widows.

    Certainly we should expect the same behavior of older women as older men in Christian life but Paul adds to the list to suit their station in life. The term rendered "becometh holiness" or "reverent" literally means "suitable for a sacred person" or "a priestess". Paul immediately condemns slandering and drunkenness, two temptations for older women but then moves swiftly to the positive role of this class of Christian.

    Though in 1Timothy 2:12 Paul forbids women to have authority, here in Titus 2:3 he exhorts them to teach good things. The first century woman in the Roman-Graeco world could not give formal instruction, but by word and deed she taught those around her about Christ. In this way they would teach the younger women. In the culture of the time, women received no formal education. Instead they would learn their roles and the necessary lessons of life from the older women in the home. Most of this education would consist of wifely and family duties. As Paul's concern was for stability within the Christian home, the young homemaker would play a major role.

    The most basic social structure and the first institution of God is the family. In order to have a strong family pleasing to God a wife must first love her husband and then love her children. Building upon these two basic virtues provides a steadiness in the home. In the Godly home, the wife's steadiness bulwarks against the frustrations suffered by the husband and the disappointments of the children. Therefore, like the older men, the young wife must be "discreet," the same word interpreted as "temperate" or "sensible" in verse 2. Chastity, of course, keeps the marriage sound as well. The young wife must also learn to be domestic. The term "good" can be safely paraphrased as "kind."

    Submission, as discussed before, is not being a slave. It is voluntarily acceptance of authority. There was a concern faced by Paul that the concept of equality found in Christ would upset the social order of the society. Paul himself had said in Galatians 3:28 that there was no male or female in Christ. Exercising such freedom may have received criticism from the early Jews and pagans that Christianity was producing "loose women." By holding to the established order of the time, the "word of God" would not be "discredited" or literally "blasphemed." Notice that Paul does not tell the young men or husbands to subdue their wives. Submission was to be done by the wife herself. The Christian lifestyle must never hinder the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    Titus 2:6-8 Of Younger Men

    In verse 6 Paul's tone becomes a bit more sharp as he tells Titus to "urge (KJV - exhort)" the younger men. This class of Christian has a propensity towards recklessness so the Apostle gives an imperative that they, like the other two groups already addressed, be self-controlled. The term "in all things" in the Greek could be applied to either "self-control" or to "show yourself (KJV - shewing thyself)". In either case Titus, a younger man himself, was to set the example. Paul reminds his associate that actions speak as loudly as words and one may as well not teach healthy doctrine if one's actions drown out the message. The teaching must be backed by the integrity, gravity, and wholesome speech which others can not fault.

    As others judge Christianity by its followers, such behavior is necessary in the teacher so that those who oppose the teacher "may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us." The term "opponent" or "of the contrary" is very vague and some feel that this is deliberate. It may be in reference to pagan critics (1Timothy 5:14), the Christian opponents of the mission (2Timothy 2:25) or even satan. In any case, exemplary living is the best defense against critics.

    Titus 2:9-10 Of Slaves

    While the behavior of the free young and old would count heavily in the Cretan church's mission, so too would the behavior of the slaves. As was the case with the view of women being accepted as equals in Christ so too were the slaves under the scrutiny of the outside world. Christianity, by New Testament teaching, does not force social reform but it is Christ through us that brings about social change. Paul spoke of the conditions and status of slaves in this context in 1Corinthians 7:20-24.

    The role of the slave within the Christian Body was to willingly submit and to try to please their master "in every respect" or "in all things." The term "in every respect" may be applied to either "be submissive (KJV - obedient)" or with "please them". Colossians 3:22 favors the second interpretation.

    In order to attain this goal, Paul spells out behavior that is conducive with pleasing their masters. Don't talk back and don't steal. Instead they should show faithfulness reflecting the Christian virtue of trustworthiness.

    Good behavior of slaves had the same aim as good behavior of the other classes: so that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. Good behavior by the members of the Body shows Christianity to be noble and pure.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lesson 1/23/05 - continued

    Luke 19:11-27 The Parable of the Ten Minas

    As Jesus and the Disciples approach Jerusalem, Christ tells a Parable in an attempt to correct the wrongly held perception that the entry into Jerusalem was not ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven in the form of the Parousia (that is the final judgement) but rather it was the onset of an interim between the Christ’s earthly ministry and His Second Coming. Three main points are made in this Passage: (1) there will be an interim; (2) that interim will be a time for testing of the disciples; and (3) there will be a time of reckoning.

    This Parable is quite similar to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 but there are some obvious differences. The Parable of the Talents was spoken after they had entered Jerusalem, this while they were en route. The account in Matthew was spoken on the Mount of Olives, this was spoken in the house of Zacchaeus of soon after. The Parable of the Talents was a lesson on improving the talents entrusted to them, this was designed for the purpose of correcting the notion of the establishment of an immediate Princely, earthly kingdom upon their arrival. Further, this Parable speaks of the rejection of a man who will be king. The Parable of the Talents does not mention this rejection.

    The Parable of the Minas may incorporate certain historical implications as well. Herod the Great had willed that his son, Archelaus, be made king of the Judean area, the would be successor faced opposition in Rome. Consequently, Caesar Augustus made Archelaus tetrarch but not king. The son of Herod then went to Rome to appeal for the title, leaving a rebellious and turbulent region behind.

    In the Parable, the nobleman leaves ten of his servants in charge of one mina each. The “mina (KJV/RSV – pound)” was a measure of money equal to one hundred shekels or drachmas. The purpose of the master leaving this money is for the servants to prove their usefulness in the interim between the owner’s departure and his return, an undetermined amount of time as he was travelling to a far country.

    A second group beside the servants is now introduced as the “citizens” who now send an emissary to those who would appoint the nobleman to power. The purpose of the emissary is to protest his appointment to kingship. In these citizens we have a picture of the Jewish state at the time of Christ rejecting His leadership.

    After an undetermined amount of time, the nobleman returns as king and has a reckoning with his servants with whom he had left the minas. We are only told of the accounting of three of them who represent the whole group. The first has been extremely industrious and reports of a profit of ten times the amount entrusted to him. It is notable that he does not claim any of the money as his own as the initial mina belonged to the nobleman. Since the servant had been trustworthy in a small amount he is rewarded with governorship over ten towns. The second servant perhaps not as ingenuative or as industrious has nonetheless also increased his mina into an additional five minas. Likewise he is rewarded with rule over five towns in the nobleman’s kingdom.

    The third servant now comes before the king with only the mina that had initially been given to him. He constructs quite a speech to justify his failure. Like the other two, he acknowledges the mina as the nobleman’s, but rather than following the command to use it to trade, all he has accomplished is guarding the coin. He is the picture of the legalists who had fenced in and guarded the Law but had prevented it from bearing the fruits for the world for which it was intended. The servant’s failure stemmed from his perception of the king. He viewed him as a hard, unjust man. Likewise, should a man perceive of God as a vengeful and cruel Deity, he will be so fearful of avoiding the “don’ts” that he will fail to provide a life of creative and joyful service.

    The nobleman then points out the failure of logic in the unfaithful servant’s defense. If he perceived of the ruler as so cruel, he should have at least put the money with the bankers and at least received interest off of it. Because of his failure, the servant is then deprived of what little he had and it is given to the servant who had gained the most. Verse 25 may be in reference to the audience who was listening to the Parable or it may be a part of the story. In either case, the ruler’s decision is congruent with the basic principle of individual responsibility. For those who are faithful and obedient, more service and trust will be given. For those who are unfaithful, their opportunities will be taken away.

    Verse 27 is in accord with the punishment meted out by Oriental monarchs against rebellious subjects. This is also likely a metaphorical reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the consequence of its inhabitants rejecting their true King.
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

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    Esther

    Esther 1-2


    Typically, when we begin a new Book I like to add an introductory commentary to give a more insightful insight into our study. In the case of Esther, however, there is so much ambiguity as to its origins that a separate commentary is not warranted. We do not know the author. Not even tradition gives us any clues. The time of the writing is anywhere from 300-50 BC. The location of the writing is impossible to determine.

    The Book of Esther has always been a source of controversy. The early Jewish synods all accepted the work as canonical but the Christian community was either hot or cold on the Book. Luther wished to exclude it from the Canon as he did with many other writings because of its “Jewishness.” Fortunately for us, God in His Providence has preserved this great work for us in our modern Bibles. There are also questions of certain historical accuracies in the Book that we are unable to overcome in the present age.

    In my opinion, the best way to approach Esther is not as a historical work, though it may be studied in that manner. The better approach is to look at the Book as a novel with a deep theological undercurrent. To dwell on the historical points, while a scholarly method, leaves one too bogged in sorting out the discrepancies between secular historical records and the account before us. However, by enjoying the Book as a well crafted story, the beauty of the account unfolds as well as any short story in history.

    It would also be an oversight to not mention the lack of the mention of God in this Book. Some theologians throughout church history have stated that Esther is “sub-Christian.” Thousands of people die in the Book and though the Book is about God’s covenant people during the time of the exile we see a complete disregard for the covenant laws. Yet for all this, the Book carries within its pages a standard of ethics and a statement about the sovereignty of God and His hand moving through history. God is not mentioned by name, but He is unquestionably on every page.

    Esther 1:1-9 The Splendor of King Ahasuerus

    There is general agreement that Ahasuerus is Xerxes I who ruled Persia from 486-465 BC. Susa was indeed his capital and modern excavations of the sight plainly confirm the wealth proclaimed by the Book of Esther.

    We are told that the king held a banquet of one hundred eighty days, a very extravagant event. We are also told that all the princes and servants were in attendance and special mention is made of the army chiefs of Persia and Media.

    When the feast for royalty was concluded after one hundred eighty days the king decreed that a feast for all the subjects be given that would last seven days. We are then informed that Vashti, the queen, also gave a feast for the ladies of the royal harem. This reminds us that Vashti had great freedom and could give parties whenever she chose.

    Esther 1:10-12 The Obstinacy of Queen Vashti
    On the final day of the commoners’ feast, Ahasuerus called for Vashti to be brought before him in full regalia in order that he may show her off to his guest. Surprisingly, Vashti refuses to come. We are not told why she does this but it starts a chain of events in motion that will save the captive Jews from annihilation.

    Esther 1:13-22 A National Crisis

    It is amusing to see that the king reacts so strongly emotionally to Vashti’s refusal yet is so weak that he needs royal council to find a solution to the dilemma. These counselors were men “who knew the times” and were always with the king to offer advice when he needed. The king needed them now. The mighty ruler of one hundred twenty seven provinces was unable to rule his one wife!

    The counselors raise the incident from a family squabble to a national incident. Memucan states that not only has Vashti sinned against Ahasuerus but against all the husbands in the province. When it became known that the first lady had shunned the king, the other wives in the nation would also refuse their husbands’ commands resulting in a complete national breakdown.

    It pleased the king’s vanity to hear that his frustration was really an important national sentiment and he agrees to a royal decree that men be stated as masters in their homes and Vashti be deposed and replaced with a more subservient queen. The humor in the story would have been as obvious to the original audience as to us.
     
  8. Clint Kritzer

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